Cover Fabien Duboueix, Head Sommelier and Senior Beverage Manager, Marina Bay Sands (Photo: Marina Bay Sands)

With a penchant for Champagne but with pours from Lebanon and Turkey among his top picks, Fabien Duboueix shares his wine selections, from most memorable to wine of the moment

Our By The Glass series sees sommeliers and wine experts share some vinous inspiration for your next pour.

Fabien Duboueix hails from a small village in the Champagne region of France, a place his career in hospitality has taken him far away from, as various professional roles saw him move to the UK, then to Spain and on to the US before, in 2012, he arrived in Singapore to take on the role of head sommelier at Saint Pierre. Since then Duboueix has managed the wine programmes for L'Atelier De Joël Robuchon (now closed), JW Marriott, and three-Michelin-starred Les Amis in the Lion City, before, in April this year, taking the cellar helm at Marina Bay Sands. Here, he shares what got him interested in wine at an early age and makes a case for a particularly extraordinary malbec.

An early wine that made you go ‘Wow! I want to be a somm’

It wasn’t so much a sudden realisation as it was a growing passion. When I was born, my father bought 400 bottles of my birth year, and I had the opportunity to see these wines evolve with me. Out of interest, I took a basic wine diploma course in the UK back in 2001 without any plans to pursue a career as a sommelier. Little did I know that it would become the starting point of my sommelier journey, first in Spain, then in the US where it truly developed into my life obsession and career.

Most memorable pour

Chateau Musar 1967, from Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. This wine was so unique that I contacted the owner for his advice. He recommended that I open it for at least two to three hours before drinking, and after tasting it, I understood why. I almost thought that the wine had passed its peak with its pale shade and unpleasant aroma when I first opened it, but three hours of waiting made all the difference, as the wine changed its hue and tasted amazing.

Tipple for a Tuesday

A chilled white wine, preferably something I’ve never tried before.

Wine of the moment

L’Etoile from Domaine Rolet, from the Jura region in France. The best value chardonnay in my opinion.

What you wish a customer would order (so you can taste it—for taint, of course)

Jean-Louis Chave, Cuvée Cathelin 1990, an extremely rare syrah from the Northern Rhone Valley.

What you love to recommend to guests

German pinot noir.

Best from your by-the-glass list

Cuvée Amphore from Fabien Jouves, Cahors, France. Most of my friends know that I’m not keen on malbec, so having it by the glass must mean it’s something extraordinary and special.

A special something

The Kocabağ Öküzgözü. I was very impressed by this Turkish wine.

Bottle to bring to a dinner party

It depends on the party, but you’ll never go wrong with a bottle of Champagne. If I must pick one, it would be Ulysse Collin, Les Maillons, Blanc de Noirs—this is a bottle that will please everybody.

What’s in your cellar?

I have a bit of everything but a lot of Champagne—I cannot deny my roots.

Last glass

Chateau Gillette Sauternes 1975

If not wine, then what?

Sake. Japan was my last trip before the onset of Covid-19, and I had the opportunity to work for a kura (sake brewery) in Tochigi prefecture. I am really looking forward to my next trip to Japan, where I can relive my fondest memories of making sake.

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